California voters will decide in November whether to legalize recreational marijuana. Not surprisingly, several groups are opposed to the measure.
One aspect of the debate that should come as a shock is the source of the funding which fuels opposition to California’s Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Initiative: law enforcement.
At least half of the money raised to oppose a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in California is coming from police and prison guard groups fearing a deep loss of revenue when marijuana arrests end.
Law enforcement groups who have become dependent on government grants and asset-seizure dollars, along with businesses in the booming prison industry have injected hefty amounts of money into anti-legalization campaigns.
One such arrest-monger is John Lovell, who lobbies for Sacramento police chiefs and prison guard supervisors. Lovell created the Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, which had raised $60,000 by March, according to state records.
The money came from law enforcement groups such as the California Police Chiefs Association, the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s Issues PAC, and the California Correctional Supervisor’s Organization.
Those doners were joined by the California Teamsters union and the California Hospital Association, as well as Sam Action, an anti-marijuana group co-founded by former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-Mass., and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum.
The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Initiative would “establish state agencies to oversee the licensing and regulation of the marijuana industry. Moreover, it would enact a sales tax of 15 percent and a cultivation tax of $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves, with exceptions for qualifying medical marijuana sales and cultivation,” Ballotopedia.com reports.
Can cops raise enough money to quash legal recreational marijuana in California? It’s hard to say.
Roughly 60 percent of Californians support legalization, and a whopping $2.25 million has been raised by proponents (that’s 40 times what the opposition has raised).
Groups advocating for the responsible legalization of marijuana in California have also gathered a number of high-profile supporters, including Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif. and the California Medical Association.